Back view of attractive young people working out on an elliptical trainer in gym
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Elliptical machines or cross-trainers have become a mainstay of the modern gym scene since their debut in the 1990s. Its diversity and ease of use are appealing to all who want to complete a full-body cardio workout in a minimum amount of time.

In fact, you can improve your cardio health with a 25-minute workout only 3 or 4 times per week.

Why an Elliptical Trainer is Good for You

Elliptical training features low-impact exercise with only minor stress to joints and tendons. You can get workout harder and longer on an elliptical device than you can on a traditional stationary trainer such as a treadmill because its low-impact prevents you from realizing just how hard you’re working out.

A 150-pound person using an elliptical machine at a moderate pace for 30 minutes could burn 386 calories.

Elliptical Trainer
Image via Fitness Cheat

Of course, you can increase the resistance of a cross-trainer to force yourself to exert more effort in the same amount of time. As a result, you would burn more calories.

Elliptical machines are also ideal for interval training. That’s when you alter the pace and effort of your training throughout your workout session. For instance, on an elliptical machine, you could alternate between working out at a high resistance setting and a low resistance setting, spending one minute on each.

Those short, intense bursts at the high resistance setting force your heart and lungs to work harder. The lower resistance setting gives your body a chance to recover.

Elliptical machines let you walk, run or step similar to the way you would traditionally train, but your feet never leave the pedals. Therefore, your limbs don’t receive the pounding they would get from your feet repeatedly striking a hard surface as when you run on a track or a treadmill.

That feature makes it a good choice of trainer for people dealing with arthritis, injuries, varicose veins, osteoporosis or any condition where it’s advisable to limit the amount of pressure to vulnerable areas of the lower body.

The safety of cross-trainer workouts is the reason that people use them in rehabilitation programs following an injury or surgery.

The better elliptical trainers have movable handlebars that allow you to get your upper body moving as you push and pull in sync with the rhythm of your lower body. You’re exercising not just your arms but also your chest, back and shoulders.

The handlebars are one of the few moving parts on an elliptical machine which means that there’s little maintenance necessary. They tend to last.

Features of Proform and NordicTrack Elliptical Trainers

Today’s elliptical trainers connect to both the internet and computers or tablets. Proform and NordicTrack models are equipped with the iFit app that allows them to integrate a fitness program with Google Maps.

If the day is gray and dreary, but you want to take a run along a sunny beach, you can stream a video of a cheery little route that will be displayed on the machine’s touchscreen.

The app will communicate with your machine so that it automatically adjusts its incline to match the flow of the land in the video. In the case of the inexpensive Proform 920E, you could jog up rather steep grades thanks to the machine’s 20% incline capability.

The cross-trainers come with built-in workouts. However, you can use the iFit app to tailor a specific nutrition and workout routine for your particular level of fitness. Your fitness routine should never grow boring because your workout options are unlimited.

Additional Features of Proform and NordicTrack Elliptical Trainers

Proform and Nordic Track elliptical units offer adjustable stride lengths. That’s beneficial to everyone but especially to those who are far outside the norm in height.

If there’s limited space in your home, pay attention to how the machine is designed. The key is the location of the flywheel. The flywheel is the primary component that’s used to increase and reduce resistance when you’re exercising.

pro form elliptical trainers
Image via Elliptical Ratings

Elliptical trainers that take up the least amount of space are usually those with their flywheel centrally located.

Machines with their flywheel in the front take up a little more space while those with their flywheel in the rear require the most area.

The heavier the flywheel is, the sturdier the machine.  Furthermore, it’s an indication that the cross-trainer can support a heavier user.

Also, a strong flywheel is more likely to deliver a smoother exercise experience. You’ll notice the difference if you test an elliptical trainer with a flywheel weighing under 20 pounds and a machine whose flywheel weighs 20 pounds or more.

An Elliptical Trainer is Waiting for You

Each person has his reason for falling in love with the elliptical machine, but fall he does.

Try replicating your usual stepping, walking or running routine on a cross-trainer. Maybe then, you’ll begin to understand why so many people before you have made the switch.


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